February 3, 2023
Indiana's attorney general sued the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok and accused it of exposing underage users to adult content, the first such challenge to TikTok's social media superiority.

Indiana’s attorney general sued the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok and accused it of exposing underage users to adult content, the first such challenge to TikTok’s social media superiority.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced on Wednesday that he was suing TikTok over allegations that the company deceived young users and exposed them to inappropriate content. He also claimed that the app violated state laws by failing to disclose the level of access that Chinese employees had to U.S. user data adequately.

“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users,” Rokita said in a press release.

The lawsuit references studies connecting heavy use of TikTok to increased mental illness as evidence of the app’s adverse effects.

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TikTok has been the target of scrutiny from state and federal lawmakers for a long time. The company, which is operated by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been questioned about its relationship to the Chinese Communist Party and its intentions in the United States. It is also in negotiations with the Biden administration over steps to address the government’s national security concerns about its operations, talks that have stalled since October.

TikTok came under additional scrutiny over the summer when a BuzzFeed News report revealed that Chinese employees had access to U.S. user data. TikTok quickly responded by moving all U.S. user data to servers owned by the Texas-based company Oracle.

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Several states have moved to ban TikTok from government devices, including Maryland, Texas, and North Dakota. Military officials have also barred installing the app on government devices.

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